The web contains tons of useful information on every subject ranging from politics and history to world economies. Reference websites help to make this information available in a comprehensible, categorized and easy-to-use manner. Whether you want to learn about poverty levels in various countries, American history or the cosmos, there is a wide range of reference websites to choose from. Here are some of the best.
About.com is an information resource website that has been around for almost two decades. It was launched in 1997 as the Mining Company with the web address miningco.com. It acquired its current name in 1999.
Today, About.com receives over 80 million unique visitors monthly, making it one of the most visited reference sites in the world. It contains around a thousand topics dealing with varying subjects including science, technology, healthcare, business, and travel. The content on About.com, including articles and videos, is contributed by experts hence ensuring its accuracy and authority.
2. College Navigator
Created and maintained by the National Center for Educational Statistics, College Navigator is a college and universities search website. Using it, parents and prospective students can search for universities and colleges based on a number of factors. You can search for institutions using location, distance from your residence location, length of study time (2 years, 4 years etc), public or private, cost and various others. The website also provides several tools to make searching easier. You can create a favorites list, save your searches, locate an institution on a map and export your search results as a spreadsheet document.
Have you ever wanted to learn more about a notable person? Biography.com is one of the most authoritative sources of biographies for thousands of personalities both past and living. Whether you want to learn more about the Pope or Steve Jobs, you will find what you need here. The website includes fascinating facts about notable people including their biggest failures, greatest successes, newsworthy moments and their last day on earth.
4. Great Websites for Kids
With so many dangers facing kids online, having a compilation of the best websites for children is invaluable. This is exactly what Great Websites for Kids has done. The site, http://gws.ala.org/, compiles the best sites for children aged 14 and under. The listings are categorized according to the subject. Current categories include animals, arts, history and biography, literature, sciences, mathematics and computers and social sciences.
All the sites have passed through a strict selection process to ensure friendliness to children. Accepted new sites are added to the listings thrice a year. Twice a year, all currently listed websites are also checked to ensure that they still meet the criteria. Great Websites for Kids is an ideal resource to parents, guardians, teachers and other caregivers.
5. Google Books
Google is the most popular reference site in the world, helping to locate information in the vast wilderness of the web. It does an equally good job as a reference site for books and magazines. It provides a search engine for the easy searching of books. If you find the book you are searching for, you can read it online or see a preview if the copyright holder has granted permission or the book is out of copyright. If the book is available in the public domain, you can download it in form of a pdf document. Google Books also provides information on where you can buy or borrow a specific book.
6. State of Working America
If you want to learn about the US economy and how it affects Americans, this is one of the best go-to online resources. It is completely free to use and is managed by the Economic Policy Institute. It provides detailed figures on aspects such as wages, unemployment, family incomes, poverty levels, and wealth.
To make reading and analyzing the data easier, there are also well-illustrated charts and graphs. You can also read more and study data on specific topics such as inequality, young workers, and women.
The above are not the only reference sites around. There are many others dealing with either general information (for example Encyclopedia Britannica and Wikipedia) or specific information niches. If the above examples do not satisfy your inquiries, a simple Google search should get you the right reference website.